OCHU/CUPE, SEIU Healthcare and Unifor joined by all opposition leaders to say the government must address workers’ concerns to protect quality patient care
Toronto, ON – “Save our hospital care” will be the rallying cry on Tuesday as hundreds of healthcare workers hold a demonstration in Toronto on Tuesday, February 6 demanding higher staffing levels and quality patient care from the Ford government and their employers.
The workers, represented by the CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE), SEIU Healthcare and Unifor, will be joined by concerned citizens and community groups in the demonstration outside the Sheraton Centre Hotel, where OCHU-CUPE is bargaining with the Ontario Hospital Association. SEIU Healthcare and Unifor are also currently engaged in negotiations with the employer association. Collectively, the three unions represent about 70,000 workers in central bargaining.
What: Save Our Hospital Care rally organized by OCHU-CUPE, SEIU Healthcare & Unifor
WHO: Michael Hurley, OCHU/CUPE President; Sharleen Stewart, SEIU Healthcare President; Lana Payne, Unifor National President; Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition Executive Director, as well as other union and community leaders from Quebec’s “Common Front”, and political leaders including Marit Stiles, leader of the Ontario NDP, Bonnie Crombie, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, and Aislinn Clancy, deputy leader of the Green Party of Ontario.
Where: Sheraton Centre Toronto, 123 Queen St. West
When: Tuesday February 6, 2024 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
The tri-union coalition is urging a 5 per cent funding increase beyond inflation from the Ford government to establish staff-to-patient ratios and fair compensation, essential for recruiting thousands of additional workers and expanding hospital beds for Ontario’s ageing and growing population. Amidst a 10% staff turnover rate exacerbated by funding cuts and wage restraints, staff-to-patient ratios are critical to improving retention and alleviating the demoralization caused by chronic understaffing and demanding work conditions.
The unions are also calling on the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) to advocate for their employees, instead of accepting government underfunding and expecting workers to fall further behind inflation after a decade of real dollar wage cuts.
“There is a crisis in hospital care in Ontario. People are dying on the wait lists for surgeries and diagnostic procedures. They wait for beds on hallway stretchers in unprecedented numbers. We are calling on the Ontario government to end its policy of cutting hospital budgets in real terms and to add staff and beds and end the crisis now.” – Michael Hurley, president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).
“Allowing people access to quality public healthcare means investing in hardworking healthcare workers can so they can take care of patients and their families. That’s what this rally to save our hospitals is about. But as the data repeatedly shows, Doug Ford continues to fail patients as Ontario’s hospitals go from bad to worse. He’s abandoned patients in need, frontline staff, and the cherished Canadian guarantee that families won’t need to use a credit card to access health services. By rejecting the solutions healthcare workers are bringing to the bargaining table, the Ontario Hospital Association is complicit in deteriorating public care so Doug Ford’s political donors can swoop in to make huge profits.” – Sharleen Stewart, President, SEIU Healthcare.
“Ontario public Healthcare is being deprived of funding and this crisis is driving workers out of the public system. This is a pivotal moment and Healthcare workers across the province are united in demanding concrete actions from the provincial government that help deliver fair wages, increased staffing, and investments in public Healthcare. We need to stop the spread of privatized for-profit Healthcare by supporting and enhancing our treasured universal Healthcare system.” – Lana Payne, Unifor National President.